Development and Inequalities
Development and Inequalities
Development is accelerating across the world due to the need to support an increasing population and the continuous demands for higher standards of living.
Development is bringing benefits and costs, for example greater use of resources for a better quality of life can lead to the exploitation of global reserves and the environment.
At the present time an unequal world of haves and have-nots is being created.
Can development make a fairer world or is it an inherently divisive process?
Definitions of Development
Development: a process of change within countries and their societies. It is seen as involving progress in 4 main directions: economic prosperity, technology, well being and social organisation.
Economic Development: the growth of a country's economy leading to a rise in the general level of prosperity.
Human development: measures the access the population has to wealth, jobs, education, nutrition, health, leisure and safety as well as political and cultural freedom.
Well being or Quality of Life: the social and psychological condition of people arising from their everyday life. It is sometimes measured by the Human Development Index however this is based on only 3 variables.
Inequality or disparity: unevenness or difference. For example the uneven distribution of wealth results in inequalities between rich and poor areas and communities.
Human Development Index: measures development depending on 3 variables which are income per capita, adult literacy and life expectancy.
Quality of Life
Quality of life indicators:
Physical - diet, housing, clean environment, mobility
Social - leisure, family and friends, welfare services, education, crime rate
Economic - secure job, income, affluence, standard of living
Psychological - satisfaction, happiness, health, security
For example in more detail:
Housing - floor space per capita, running water, electricity
Education - literacy rate, number of years in education, % of GNP spent on education
Health - life expectancy, infant mortality, intake of calories, % of GNP spent on health
Global Economy 1.
The designation of "Third World" countries was created by Alfred Sauvy, a French scientist who studied world populations. The outlook is biased towards Western countries which are described as "First World". Although the terms are now outdated the ideology is still much evident in political geography.
'First World' - More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) with capitalist or free-market economies
'Second World' - comprising the socialist or communist countries such as China, but now greatly reduced with the break up of the Soviet Union and its bloc of Eastern European states
'Third World' - Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs)
From the 1970s the following was added:
'Fourth World' - nomadic peoples, indigenous populations, subsistence farmers and anyone who lives independently of the modern industrial world. Sub populations of the First World whose living standards are more like the Third World or Developing Country
Global Economy 2.
Developed and Developing Countries are terms that are more commonly used to describe differences in economic situations between countries. The assumption of one country making more progress, a sort of finished product 'developed' and another being a work in progress 'developing' is essentially the same hierachical 1st, 2nd and 3rd World idea which began in the 1950s.
It is important to note that over many thousands of years countries have survived and flourished as independent 'developed' cultures with distinct traditions which could not be compared as they are subjectively preferred by their respective populations.
The modern day global trade and cultural exchange between nations has brought with it power struggles. Once the country has a strong enough economy to be described as economically 'developed' it also becomes global power.
Global North and Global South Divide
In 1981, a report was published called the Brandt Report, it showed that countries in the Northern Hemisphere controlled 80% of the world's wealth compared with 20% in the Southern Hemisphere (with exceptions including South Africa, Chile, Australia and New Zealand).
The political G8 countries are all in the Northern Hemisphere: West Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, Canada and Russia (currently temporarily suspended).
Global Economy 3.
LDCs or Least Developed Countries where most people live in poverty
LEDCs or Less Economically Developed Countries
RICs - Recently Industrialising Countries
NICs - Newly Industrialised Countries
MEDCs or More Economically Developed Countries
Two other commonly recognised country groupings which can belong to the LEDCs, NICs and MEDCs :
OPEC Members - Organisations of the Petroleum Exporting Countries which produce and export oil
FCCs - Former Communist Countries
The distinctions between the groups can be vague and as a country's economy improves then it can change group.
GDP (Gross domestic Product): the total value of goods and services produced by a country over a specified period normally one year. For the purposes of international comparison GDP is expressed in per capita (head of population) terms.
GNI (Gross National Income): the GDP of a country plus all the income earned from investments abroad but less all the income earned in the country by foreigners. For the purposes of international comparison, GNI is expressed in per capita terms
Global Economy: the worldwide exploitation of resources, production of and marketing of goods and services. Countries are becoming increasingly interdependent as a result of the growth of the global economy.
Development gap: 1) the general difference between LEDCs and MEDCs as measured in terms of economic attributes and quality of life 2) the specific difference between the richest and poorest country.
Free market economy: an economy in which there is no government intervention and market forces prevail.
What keeps communities in poverty?
Lack of savings: basis of investment and improvment
Absence of trade: transportation difficulties, dangerous environments and being 'undercut' by competition
Loss of knowledge and technology: Knowledge has to be taught and passed on to the next generation. Some factors that can interfere with this are 1) Loss of population through epidemic 2) overpopulation can mean larger families where each child has less attention and education 3) children go to work instead of going to school to learn 4) people who become educated and skilled leave to live in a more affluent community
Decline in natural resources: depletion of resources, water, livestock and wildlife and land mismanagement
Disasters: floods, storms, wars and epidemics
Displacement of populations: without infrastructure community is less able to develop
Rapid population growth: community resources are unable to meet needs of population, especially if there are more children who are unable to contribute
Misused money: 1) spent on large projects that turn out to be a waste of resources when what is needed is small scale projects 2) money spent on high cost weapons 3) corruption
Case study - problems of large scale development
Aswan High Dam - The dam was supposed to have modernised Egypt and Sudan instead it blocked the Nile River’s natural supply of nitrate fertilizer and organic material. Now, about one third of the dam's electric output goes directly into fertilizer production. The dam is silting up and may cease to serve any useful purpose within the next few centuries. In addition, the Mediterranean Sea is slowly becoming more saline as the Nile River previously provided it with most of its new fresh water influx.
Key Terms about Aid
Dependence: the condition in which a country, region or group of people is only able to survive and progress by reliance on the support provided by another. This support can take various forms including trade, aid, political protection and defence.
Bilateral aid: aid arranged directly between two countries, a donor and a recipient.
Debt relief: the partial or total forgiveness of national debt, or the slowing or stopping of debt growth.
Multilateral aid: aid that countries provide through some intermediary or international organisation such as the UN or OECD
Trickle-down effect: the gradual spread of growth or wealth, as from core to periphery or from rich to poor
Theories about economic development
Backwash effect: the concentration of resources, people and wealth in the core and at the expense of the periphery.
Core: a favoured location, usually possessing some form of initial advantage, in which economic and demographic growth become concentrated.
Informal sector: this is made up of activities that are not officially recognised but are undertaken by poor people in order to survive. They include selling on the street, providing low cost transport and jobs in workshops.